A (Choose: Great/Pointless/Annoying) Scoring System Thread

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Re: A (Choose: Great/Pointless/Annoying) Scoring System Thre

Postby Robospierrebot » 21 Dec 2017, 22:49

Yeah, I wasn't really thinking it through all the way. If you come out with a decent score just by holding 14-17, you might also be more willing to take a draw when the game seems stalemated instead of sitting on your centers hoping someone messes up orders or that the the anti-solo coalition ends up infighting. That'd probably lead to shorter games.

It also could encourage more risk taking for smaller powers later in the game since the risk/reward for holding more centers is different. More high risk plays by weak powers should on average mean more eliminations, which should make games shorter.

I do recall reading once that Austria does have a pretty solid solo/draw rate if it avoids early elimination but the same wasn't true for Italy. Italy survives a lot more and still solos less. I suppose more interesting for the purposes of this discussion is, when Italy and Austria draw, do they tend to have fewer centers. No clue on what the answer is there.
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Re: A (Choose: Great/Pointless/Annoying) Scoring System Thre

Postby jay65536 » 05 Jan 2018, 00:31

So as it turns out, there is a small amount of scoring-system-specific stuff in a tournament subforum. One thing that is there that is worth putting in this thread, I think, is an explanation of the C-Diplo system, which is extremely common in some parts of the world.

C-Diplo is a lead-based system, basically the archetype. Like sum of squares, it is fixed-sum--every game is worth 100 points, divided in some way among the players. Also like SoS, if anyone solos, they get 100 points and everyone else gets 0. The difference is in a draw:

-All players (even those eliminated) get 1 point.
-Everyone gets 1 point per center.
-The bonus for finishing first in the center count is 38 points.
-The bonus for finishing second is 14.
-The bonus for finishing third is 7.

Tied places split the sum of the points for those places, i.e. if you tie with 1 other player for the board top, you get (38+14)/2 = 26.

Most aspects of this are very similar to the Carnage system. They are both easy to use, but Carnage is easier. They both give 1 point per center along with a variable bonus based on center position. Compared to Carnage, C-Diplo gives more weight to topping the table and less weight to finishing lower--you get no bonus points for finishing lower than third, and in Carnage, two seconds are worth the same as a first and a third, while in C-Diplo they are worth less (28 vs. 45). Compared to C-Diplo, Carnage gives more weight to solos--two board tops with an average of 12 centers each in C-Diplo will beat a solo and an elimination to a draw (102 vs. 101), while in Carnage no combination of non-solo results ever beats a solo.

***

If DQ is still following the thread, he may remember the exchange where he asked what scoring systems people use here and I replied that there is a heavy attachment to draw-based systems. Indeed, this subforum shows that that is exactly the case:
viewforum.php?f=776

That's the "suggested" list of scoring systems for site tournaments. They are all draw-based, and not only that, but they have properties I had never before seen in a scoring system:

1) Their designer is adamant that center counts not be used, not even as a secondary component. That means a 17-center 3way and a 2-center 3way count the same in this system. While I understand the theoretical reasons why this might be desirable in a non-tournament setting, this just doesn't make sense to me in a tournament setting.

2) Many of these draw-based systems are not fixed-sum! I've never seen that before.

This site seems to use a lot of systems that deviate from Calhamer points by considering certain draws as disproportionately worse than others. One example is the system that made me want to start this thread: the PDL (PlayDip League) system. It's a draw-based system that is not fixed-sum and it scores the following:

Solo 40
2way 20
3way 10
4way 5
5way 2
All other results 0

I don't know what this system has going for it to recommend it over straight Calhamer points, or over the PDET system which only deviates from Calhamer points to overvalue a solo.
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Re: A (Choose: Great/Pointless/Annoying) Scoring System Thre

Postby WHSeward » 05 Jan 2018, 03:27

The Dixiecon draw pot is not fixed sum.

I was meaning to post on this thread earlier but never got around to it. Going back to the OP (and this thread has well moved on from there, but so what ;)
jay65536 wrote:The three major answers to the question of "closeness to a solo" are:
1. The fewer players in the draw, the closer you are to a solo...

Which got the correct response
DQ wrote:...the theory behind point 1 is, in my experience simply false. The fewer players there are in the draw, the further you are from a solo, almost always.

I don't think there are any experienced players who will disagree with DQ there, but it also mischaracterizes the point of draw-based scoring and DIAS.

DIAS and draw-based scoring keep the powers that are behind "in the game". It is why ABC wrote DIAS into the rules. If you are behind in a lead- or especially center-based system, you really don't have anything to play for any more. A 1 to 3 SC power is going to score an insignificant number of points in a round, so it just isn't any different than 0. As a result, it is not uncommon for FtF to just blow off a game in those systems after the opening if they get hammered. They have nothing to play for. Not so in a draw-based system.

So rather than suggesting that tourney scoring should merely "answer the question of closeness to a solo" what we also want is a system that generates good games of Dip and that incentivizes the "correct" behaviour.

Unfortunately, after a lot of searching, it doesn't seem like there is any one good answer. Sum of squares is great for getting the leader to play "correctly", that is, play in a way that maximizes a solo-chance. Draw-based scoring is great for getting the small powers to play "correctly" and stay invested in a game and playing hard. It also drives the action keeping games going rather than being called early with big powers coasting on a lead. If you want to improve your result, you have to get in there and dig out the other guys. Unfortunately, draw-based scoring also runs the risk of encouraging players to aim for a 3-way out of the gate, which can be a pretty boring game if that happens.
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Re: A (Choose: Great/Pointless/Annoying) Scoring System Thre

Postby Radical Pumpkin » 05 Jan 2018, 06:52

WHSeward wrote:Unfortunately, after a lot of searching, it doesn't seem like there is any one good answer. Sum of squares is great for getting the leader to play "correctly", that is, play in a way that maximizes a solo-chance. Draw-based scoring is great for getting the small powers to play "correctly" and stay invested in a game and playing hard. It also drives the action keeping games going rather than being called early with big powers coasting on a lead. If you want to improve your result, you have to get in there and dig out the other guys. Unfortunately, draw-based scoring also runs the risk of encouraging players to aim for a 3-way out of the gate, which can be a pretty boring game if that happens.


Has anyone ever experimented with what we might call "sum of squares plus"? Each surviving player's raw score is the square of their supply centers plus X (and actual scores are then each player's raw score divided by the sum of raw scores, as in regular sum of squares). For X=0, this is just sum of squares; for very large X, it's basically a draw-based system. Seems like there ought to be a sweet spot in between there.
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Re: A (Choose: Great/Pointless/Annoying) Scoring System Thre

Postby jay65536 » 05 Jan 2018, 16:17

Radical Pumpkin wrote:
WHSeward wrote:Unfortunately, after a lot of searching, it doesn't seem like there is any one good answer. Sum of squares is great for getting the leader to play "correctly", that is, play in a way that maximizes a solo-chance. Draw-based scoring is great for getting the small powers to play "correctly" and stay invested in a game and playing hard. It also drives the action keeping games going rather than being called early with big powers coasting on a lead. If you want to improve your result, you have to get in there and dig out the other guys. Unfortunately, draw-based scoring also runs the risk of encouraging players to aim for a 3-way out of the gate, which can be a pretty boring game if that happens.


Has anyone ever experimented with what we might call "sum of squares plus"? Each surviving player's raw score is the square of their supply centers plus X (and actual scores are then each player's raw score divided by the sum of raw scores, as in regular sum of squares). For X=0, this is just sum of squares; for very large X, it's basically a draw-based system. Seems like there ought to be a sweet spot in between there.


I'll reply to WHSeward later, but the PDET system that was just used is extremely similar to what you just suggested with a "very large X".

I invented a scoring system that combines draw-based and lead-based scoring (I'm unaware of any such thing currently in use), but I don't think I could ever convince anyone to try it out. I'd have to run my own tournament (maybe someday).
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Re: A (Choose: Great/Pointless/Annoying) Scoring System Thre

Postby WHSeward » 05 Jan 2018, 18:56

Whipping used to use a system that was (roughly) one third draw-based, one third center-based, one third lead-based. "A scoring system with something for everyone... to hate" was the joke. It has since moved to just using sum of squares.
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Re: A (Choose: Great/Pointless/Annoying) Scoring System Thre

Postby jay65536 » 05 Jan 2018, 19:45

Right. I believe all systems currently in use are hybrids of draw/center (like Dixie) or lead/center (like SoS/Carnage/C-Diplo). I am totally unfamiliar with the Whipping system but you claim it tried to blend all 3. I have never seen any attempt at a draw/lead hybrid actually being used in a tournament.
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Re: A (Choose: Great/Pointless/Annoying) Scoring System Thre

Postby Radical Pumpkin » 05 Jan 2018, 20:59

If mixed systems faded away, does anyone have insight into the reason they were found wanting? Seems like a nice way to give reasonable incentives to everyone, from the board leader to the 1-center power trying to hang on. (Mixing draw, center count and lead systems all together seems like overkill, though. Either center count or lead ought to be enough.)
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Re: A (Choose: Great/Pointless/Annoying) Scoring System Thre

Postby WHSeward » 05 Jan 2018, 21:34

I don't think Jay is saying they faded away. He is saying they are all blends.

C-diplo, the dominant European system, is a blend of lead and centers, but in practice it plays just like it was just lead-based.

SoS and Carnage are the dominant NA systems these days. Sum of Squares has the mix built in; your score is a function of both your centers and your lead, albeit it is more complicated than most with squaring and normalizing so number of powers alive matters too. Personally, I would character Caranage as just lead-based; centers are only for tie-breaks. (Similarly I would characterize this year's PDET as draw-based; SoS was only for tie-breaks and didn't actually impact the result at all.)

That leaves Dixie, a venerable tourney, often called a draw-based tourney, but it is really mixed, draw and centers.

The reason blends don't work that well IMHO are when the scoring system is too complicated, it doesn't do a great job of motivating behaviour at all because people don't understand what is best for them. In the past, some events tried taking that to an extreme by keeping scoring system secret or making it super complicated so no one could understand it. There the goal was not having the scoring system motivate play at all and get it out of the way to try to have it affect decisions less. That never really caught on.

Related, usually one element, draw- place- or centers- dominates the score, so people in practice just play to that. (E.g. C-diplo may as well just be lead-based the way it plays, regardless of the blend in the system.)
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Re: A (Choose: Great/Pointless/Annoying) Scoring System Thre

Postby jay65536 » 06 Jan 2018, 05:30

WHSeward wrote:DIAS and draw-based scoring keep the powers that are behind "in the game". It is why ABC wrote DIAS into the rules. If you are behind in a lead- or especially center-based system, you really don't have anything to play for any more. A 1 to 3 SC power is going to score an insignificant number of points in a round, so it just isn't any different than 0. As a result, it is not uncommon for FtF to just blow off a game in those systems after the opening if they get hammered. They have nothing to play for. Not so in a draw-based system.

So rather than suggesting that tourney scoring should merely "answer the question of closeness to a solo" what we also want is a system that generates good games of Dip and that incentivizes the "correct" behaviour.


I fully understand the theory you're describing here (and have read the article by ABC where he explains it). Unfortunately, as DQ pointed out earlier and I agree with, in practice it tends not to be the case that draw-based systems in a tournament setting encourage more fighting by the small powers. Instead, because the games are non-DIAS, what tends to happen in my experience is that the 3 biggest powers will expect the game to end when the small powers vote themselves out of the draw. And if they don't, the 3 big guys collude and knock them out. Indeed, that is exactly what happened in many of the PDET games last year (including my round 2 game)--even in a system where anyone who voted themselves out got no points for it.

So given this experience, I think that's why most live tournaments have moved away from draw-based scoring--the incentives you're talking about simply aren't there for anyone in practice.

I definitely agree with your most recent post, about the fact that many systems (with SoS being the exception) have a "primary" and "secondary" component to how they're scored. So Dixie for example is draw-based first and center-based second; Carnage is lead-based first and center-based second. But I would not go so far as to say that either is "just" one thing, with the other being just for tiebreaks. In practice, in a tournament, those "tiebreaks" can actually matter a lot. The fact that they didn't in the PDET seems like a bit of luck. And in practice, people who seriously want to win tournaments will often (not always, but often) play for centers knowing that the tournament could come down to a tiebreak.
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